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January 8, 2015 5:06 pm

El-Sisi Becomes First Egyptian President to Attend Christmas Mass

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Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi attended a Christmas mass at Cairo's Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral. Photo: Russian Presidential Press and Information Office via Wikimedia Commons.

JNS.org – Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has become the first holder of his office to ever attend a Christmas mass.

El-Sisi was present at the Christmas mass at Cairo’s Saint Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral, where he visited with Coptic Pope Tawadros II and gave a brief speech, Al-Ahram reported.

Unlike Christians in the West, Coptic Christians celebrate Christmas on Jan. 7 due to their use of the older Julian calendar.

Saint Mark’s Cathedral, which serves as the seat of the Coptic papacy and the largest church in the Middle East, was the site of an unprecedented Islamic mob attack in April 2013 under then-president Mohamed Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood member.

El-Sisi has embarked on an ambitious plan for a “revolution” in Islam, in order to reform the faith that he says has made the Muslim world a source of “destruction” that is “making enemies of the whole world.”

“So 1.6 billion people [in the Muslim world)] will kill the entire world of 7 billion? That’s impossible… We need a religious revolution,” El-Sisi said during a Jan. 1 speech at Al-Azhar University, The Associated Press reported.

El-Sisi’s vision includes purging Islam of extremist intolerance and violence, elements that terror groups like al-Qaeda and the Islamic State use as recruitment tools.

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  • Gautam

    President Al-Sisi of Egypt at Al-Azhar University, the most prestigious and ancient centre of Islamic learning, made a startling speech on December 28th 2014 also broadcast on Channel 1 of Egyptian TV. A substantial extract available on video ( http://www.memri.org/clip/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/4704.htm ) .

    “We spoke earlier about the importance of religious doctrine. I would like to reiterate that we are not doing enough with regard to true religious discourse. The problem has never been with our faith . Perhaps the problem lies in ideology (fikr) and this ideology is sanctified with us. I am talking about religious discourse that is in keeping with its times”

    ‘I am addressing the religious scholars and clerics. We must take a long, hard look at the current situation. I have talked about this several times in the past. We must take a long, hard look at the situation we are in. It is inconceivable that the ideology we sanctify should make our Umma a source of concern, danger, killing, and destruction all over the world. It is inconceivable that this ideology. . . .I am referring not to ‘religion’ (deen) ,but to ‘ideology'(fikr)—the body of ideas and texts that we have sanctified in the course of centuries, to the point that challenging them has become very difficult. . . .”

    “It has reached the point that [this ideology] is hostile to the entire world. Is it conceivable that 1.6 billion [Muslims] would kill the world’s population of seven billion, so that they could live [on their own]? This is inconceivable.

    I say these things here, at Al-Azhar, before religious clerics and scholars. May Allah bear witness on Judgment Day to the truth of your intentions, regarding what I say to you today. You cannot see things clearly when you are locked [in this ideology]. You must emerge from it and look from outside, in order to get closer to a truly enlightened ideology. You must oppose it with resolve. Let me say it again: We need to revolutionize our religion. . .”
    “Honorable Imam [the Grand Sheik of Al-Azhar], you bear responsibility before Allah. The world in its entirety awaits your words, because the Islamic nation is being torn apart, destroyed, and is heading to perdition. We ourselves are bringing it to perdition.”

  • This is good news. Lets wait and see how far he can get with this. I hope he wont suffer the faith of Anwar as Sadat.

  • Jack

    Brave man! No doubt serious about reform.

    • charlie johnson

      He is very brave and honorable. That makes him a high priority target. Especially with USA liberals.